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Proud to say I worked for city of Hinesville
Liberty lore
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As a teenager living in a log cabin in Long County, which was built in 1820, I never dreamed I’d work 25 years for the city of Hinesville and be responsible for spending millions of dollars. At that time, all I knew of Hinesville was the Hinesville Bottling Company’s logo I had seen embossed on the bottom of Coca-Cola bottles.
My first day of work at Hinesville City Hall was June 24, 1985. During my orientation, I remember city clerk Onetha Mingledorff shaking her finger at me and telling me she could fire me at any time during my first six months, even if it was because she didn’t like how my hair was parted. The next day, I went to a beauty shop and asked for the curliest hairdo I could get. If Onetha was going to fire me, it wouldn’t be because my hair was parted!
Sarah Lumpkin led the finance department and I was her administrative clerk. I enjoyed working with numbers and thought I’d like the job.
I had never touched a computer before my job with the city — I don’t think I’d even seen one. My goodness, I was in ninth grade at Ludowici High School when Mrs. Margaret Parker taught me how to dial a telephone!  
I was given a huge black book in which I manually recorded each penny that came into the city. I used a small black book to record daily bank deposits and to subtract checks from the balance as they were written.
Sarah remained my supervisor until the city clerk retired and Sarah took her place. I really enjoyed working with Sarah.
There are now five members in the finance department. Kim Ryon is the city finance officer and she effected many changes when she came on board about nine years ago. She even got rid of my precious black book! Everything is done on the computer now. Each member’s work is dependent on the others to get all the papers and reports processed. Kim, Tina Dinkins, Carmen Williams, Debra Hulvey and Dancy Carmichael (my replacement) make up the group. I challenge anyone to find a better finance department. When the auditor arrives each February, everything is in order for them.
City Manager Billy Edwards, executive assistant Sherry Strickland and Sarah Lumpkin are the only ones who were employed with the city when I joined the staff in 1985 and are still there. However, I do want to mention several people I worked with who are no longer with us on this earth: Mayor Carl Dykes, Mayor and Council Member Jim Watson, Mayor James Brown, Public Works Director Mark Copeland, Council Member Flo Zechman, inspections office manager Linda Hickey, water department employee Cynthia Holt, city hall secretary Diane Poythress, Assistant Police Chief Vivian Hodges, Chief Bob Ryon, Russell Selph, who worked with the police reserves for years, and last but certainly not least, former Police Chief Harlon DeLoach.
 Flo Zechman added a lot of flavor to the council. Every day around 10:30 a.m., she came to city hall and occupied a vacant office next to the water counter. She opened her mail, returned constituents’ phone calls and smoked her cigarettes. She kept ashtrays in a desk drawer. Billy fixed up an office upstairs for council members to use, but it had no ashtrays and Flo refused to use that office. She said she needed to be downstairs so she could see what was going on and smoke her cigarettes.
I have had the privilege of speaking to nearly all of the civic and church groups in Liberty County about history and community service. I have written more than 150 “Liberty lore” columns for the Coastal Courier and have enjoyed sharing my findings about the county’s history. As past president of the Liberty County Historical Society, I try to promote interest in and preserve historical sites.
I have enjoyed my years with the city of Hinesville. We have competent department heads and staffers. I have worked closely with them and many OMI employees. Billy Edwards and I have always had a good working relationship and friendship. I tease him and tell him he has been very lucky to have two Margies in his life — his mama and me. Here’s a little-known fact: Assistant City Manager Kenneth Howard missed his calling in life — he is a very gifted actor!
I have been referred to as the old woman, the short lady, the mean woman, the crazy lady, old moneybags and even the little Puerto Rican. But, thank God, I have never been called dishonest.
July 1 was my first day of retirement from the city of Hinesville. This is the beginning of a new chapter in my life. I will live on our “Heritage Farm” in Tattnall County and enjoy the outdoors. We have 110 flower beds, which, along with my husband Gene, will keep me busy.
I will miss watching the sun rise and set as I travel the road to work each day. I will not miss getting up each day at 5:30 a.m., applying makeup and planning my life around the 10th and 25th of each month, when the checks have to go out. I will miss my city of Hinesville family.
I will be keeping up with the city’s activities and can’t wait to see the new city hall. It was odd to see the old city hall demolished.
I will always be proud to say I retired from the city of Hinesville.

Love is a history buff and writes Liberty lore periodically for the Courier.
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